The Bunny Hop

Techniques for riding mountain bikes.
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The Bunny Hop

Postby wa_desert_rat » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:09 pm

The bunny-hop is a technique in which you jump both wheels of your bicycle into the air in order to avoid an obstacle like a root or a rock that is likely to either stop you or dump you and thus avoid an OTB (Over the Bars) incident.

You can lead up to this maneuver by first practicing the front wheel lift. Find a small obstacle and ride towards it. Just as you get close plant your feet flat on the pedals and use your shoulders and arms to lift up on the handlebars to raise the front wheel off the ground. If you're riding a mountain bike with front shocks you will have to unload the shocks first (that is... get them extended) or perform the maneuver fast enough to allow the damping to kick in.

The second part of the bunny-hop is to get the rear wheel into the air. This is much easier with "clipless" pedals than it is with platform pedals.

I'm going to describe the maneuver using platform pedals and you can try it out for yourself. Clipless pedals make the maneuver easier but complicate things in other ways.

Once you have the ability to raise your front wheel a few inches off the ground (if you can raise it enough to cross a street curb without hitting it with the front wheel you've gotten far enough) the next step is to learn how to raise the rear wheel so that both wheels are in the air at the same time for a brief period of time.

I like to position my right pedal so that my right foot is pointed back towards my back wheel with my toe pointed down. This will let my foot grip the pedal and help move the bike upwards. The technique is to first lift the front wheel into the air and then, simultaneously rotate your hands forward on the handlebars and move your right foot and leg upwards. The idea is to have your hands move the handlebars to raise (or rotate) the rear of the bicycle while your foot on the pedal pointing backwards kicks the back end up.

With clipless pedals you can just bend your knees, left up with your arms and then jump up... pulling the bike up with you... while simultaneously rotating your hands forward on the handlebars.

There are a bunch of vids on the Internet illustrating this maneuver but I must warn you that almost all of them feature a rider who is clipped in. A bunny-hop on platform pedals is pure art.

WDR
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Re: The Bunny Hop

Postby johnj2803 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:30 am

for the past few day I have been trying my a** off lifting my rear wheel. I can o a few GM's but I cannot seem to doit consistently. I cannot bunny hop:-( I can do the maneuver one at a time, the rear lifting so inconsistently, nut I cannot do them both...
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Re: The Bunny Hop

Postby wa_desert_rat » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:05 am

johnj2803 wrote:for the past few day I have been trying my a** off lifting my rear wheel. I can o a few GM's but I cannot seem to doit consistently. I cannot bunny hop:-( I can do the maneuver one at a time, the rear lifting so inconsistently, nut I cannot do them both...


I find that the more I "think" about a bunny-hop the less effective at it I am. But if I suddenly have to do it it just seems to "happen". I don't clip in but use pretty "sticky" platform pedals (and I have the scars on my legs to prove it) which makes it a LOT harder. I also don't concentrate on rotating the handlebars much... instead I try to feel my foot kicking that rear pedal up.

The bunnyhop is to bicycling what the eskimo roll is to kayaking. It's hard to explain but once your body figures it out you'll be able to do it instinctively.
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Re: Re: The Bunny Hop

Postby Kojack » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:52 pm

wa_desert_rat wrote:
johnj2803 wrote:for the past few day I have been trying my a** off lifting my rear wheel. I can o a few GM's but I cannot seem to doit consistently. I cannot bunny hop:-( I can do the maneuver one at a time, the rear lifting so inconsistently, nut I cannot do them both...


I find that the more I "think" about a bunny-hop the less effective at it I am. But if I suddenly have to do it it just seems to "happen". I don't clip in but use pretty "sticky" platform pedals (and I have the scars on my legs to prove it) which makes it a LOT harder. I also don't concentrate on rotating the handlebars much... instead I try to feel my foot kicking that rear pedal up.

The bunnyhop is to bicycling what the eskimo roll is to kayaking. It's hard to explain but once your body figures it out you'll be able to do it instinctively.

I use clips and its great. Easy to bunny hop, more power to the ground as well

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Re: The Bunny Hop

Postby wa_desert_rat » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:39 am

johnj2803 wrote:for the past few day I have been trying my a** off lifting my rear wheel. I can o a few GM's but I cannot seem to doit consistently. I cannot bunny hop:-( I can do the maneuver one at a time, the rear lifting so inconsistently, nut I cannot do them both...


I accompanied a couple of ten-year-old girls to the play park a week or so ago and while they were doing whatever it is that 10-year-old girls do (it involves a lot of giggling and whispering) I was riding my bike around the paved area. Getting the front wheel up is the easiest part of a bunny hop. The hardest part - at least without being clipped in - is getting that rear wheel up. I discovered that breaking the maneuver into parts helped.

I began by using my front brake carefully to keep the front wheel as close to stopped as possible. Once the bike is stopped I put my left foot mid-way in the pedal cycle with my toe pointed at the ground and lunged my body forward and that right foot up at the same time. This lifts the back wheel. I found that even without clips I can "kick" the back wheel left or right by doing this.

You have to be careful to have all forward speed off the bike before doing this or you'll risk going OTB (Over The Bars) head-first. Since the bunny-hop is most valuable when you are moving forward (to jump obstructions like roots, rocks, rattlesnakes, etc.) you will have to have speed on the bike at some point in your practicing. But getting the feel of lifting that rear wheel off the ground using that combination of pressing your foot back and up while lunging your upper body forward to rotate the handlebars will go a long way towards moving you forward in that quest for the elusive "hop".

Keep the bike moving forward as slowly as you can while you get the actions right and try to keep your hand off that front brake lever. You can get the rear wheel up pretty easily by using the front brake but you can't do that while you're going down a trail (at least not without a lot of risk) so you're better off keeping that left hand off the brake lever while you're working up to a full bunny hop.

However, by using that front brake you can develop the skill to hop that back tire around while holding the front wheel steady with the brake. Without clips this takes quite a few hops and it's easy to lose balance but it's a fun trick to practice.

Those four-square game areas marked on so many school playgrounds are great places to practice MTB skills. I spent a little time hopping the rear wheel left and right across the painted lines of the squares.

I have to say that one of the dangers I discovered is paranoia. Nothing to do with the bike... but I kept having the feeling that those two 10-year-old girls were giggling, whispering and point at me!
WDR
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Re: The Bunny Hop

Postby Cliff » Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:52 am

I'm too old to get both wheels off the ground at the same time :lol:

I love having a 29er though. When I come up to a curb, I can lift the front wheel while pushing down on the peddle and the big tire floats up and over. I then grab the front brake lightly and lean forward a bit and raise my butt off the seat. The rear wheel follows up and over and I continue on with no jarring what so ever. Now that I have had a 29er, I'll never go back :)
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The Bunny Hop

Postby BoomerBrian » Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:04 am

Having clipless makes this soooo much easier.
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Re: The Bunny Hop

Postby SgtBaxter » Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:49 am

BoomerBrian wrote:Having clipless makes this soooo much easier.


Not really. Front foot toes up, rear foot toes down on flats, push and you're locked onto the bike. If you're just jumping and pulling up on the pedals clipped in, you're not using correct technique and you will take serious toll on your joints.
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Re: The Bunny Hop

Postby JTalley » Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:16 pm

I never could figure out the bunny hop until one day... Nobody really told me how; it just kinda happened. From then on I've been able to do it. Now that I have a bike with full suspension I've found that I can hop higher if I push the suspension down and then time my hop with it's spring. It only gives a few more inches, but it feels like a world of difference. The other day I timed all this with a little hump in the road and kinda felt like ET for a minute! :lol:
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The Bunny Hop

Postby BoomerBrian » Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:41 pm

SgtBaxter wrote:
BoomerBrian wrote:Having clipless makes this soooo much easier.


Not really. Front foot toes up, rear foot toes down on flats, push and you're locked onto the bike. If you're just jumping and pulling up on the pedals clipped in, you're not using correct technique and you will take serious toll on your joints.


From my experience it does. Perhaps my form is incorrect but to be honest you are the first person I have ever seen that says otherwise.
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